Names In The Game
SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (AP) _ He feigned a right jab to an unsuspecting teen-ager and quipped about his pretty face. Muhammad Ali had his charm with him Thursday, and he also had with him an old rival - Joe Frazier.
The two former heavyweight champions, who fought three memorable bouts, spent about two hours at the Tulsa Boys’ Home.
They were guests of honor at Fight Night II, a black-tie boxing event Thursday night designed to raise money for charity.
Ali won two of the fights against Frazier, including the 1975 ″Thrilla in Manila,″ and he was the clear favorite among about 200 people at the Boys’ Home.
″There was a man who could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, and he did,″ said 15-year-old Steve, reading a poem to Ali and Frazier, who sat at separate tables.
″There was a man who hit his opponents like a bolt of lightning ... how you feeling Joe?″
Steve couldn’t give his last name because of confidentiality rules. When he finished reading, Ali slowly rose and said, ″Joe’s gonna get you 3/8″
Ali spoke barely above a whisper, signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome that has attacked his motor skills and his speech, but not his wit.
Another resident of the Boys’ Home presented a hand-painted portrait of Ali, which the champ looked over twice before replying, ″I ain’t that ugly 3/8″
″We’re lucky to have them both here together,″ said Tom Tanno, a spokesman for Dallas-based Fight Night Inc. ″They sat across from each other at dinner last night. Ali said, ‘You’re still ugly.’ Joe said, ‘You’re still stupid.’ Then they got up and hugged each other.
Frazier, 49, who runs Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, signed T- shirts, magazines and photos. He declined to sign Steve’s poem, as Ali had done moments earlier.
″There’s nothing in there about me except getting hit,″ he told the boy.
Frazier said he no longer feels sad about Ali’s condition, partly because he has come to accept it and partly, he says, because it could have happened to him.
″I was in there just like he was,″ Frazier said. ″He had a great life and he’s a great man. I can’t go around feeling sorry for him. I don’t think he wants that.″
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas quarterback Peter Gardere, who never punted in college, is going to get a shot as an NFL punter with the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle scout Warren Harper, who monitors players in Texas, was impressed with Gardere’s punting after watching a practice in 1991.
Gardere, though never given a chance to punt for the Longhorns, worked on his punting in practice.
″We like the way he explodes into the ball,″ said Mike Allman, director of player personnel for the Seahawks.
Gardere was signed as a free agent and will compete this summer at training camp in Kirkland, Wash. He will not attend this weekend’s mini camp for rookies.
Gardere is an outfielder with the Texas baseball team and will play in the upcoming series against top-ranked Texas A&M.
The Aggies are looking to clinch the Southwest Conference outright with a single victory in a three-game series against Texas, and Gardere says he wouldn’t miss the battle.
″I told them I wouldn’t sign if they wouldn’t let me play against A&M,″ Gardere said.
Following also appeared on general news wires
DALLAS (AP) - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and singer Lorrie Morgan are an item, but Aikman’s acquaintances are having a hard time defining the relationship.
Folks close to Aikman have described the couple as ″friends,″ ″semidating; and ″undefinable,″ according to The Dallas Morning News.
Aikman, one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people, is expected to escort Morgan to the Academy of Country Music Awards show on May 11. Morgan is in the running for several awards and Aikman is a presenter.
Morgan’s work includes ″What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)″ and ″Watch Me.″
Speculation on the pair has increased since Aikman’s golf tournament gala when he jumped up on stage and kissed Morgan, who is in the process of divorcing her third husband.
Morgan and Brad Thompson, the former bus driver for Clint Black, have been married since October 1991.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Jamie Cogar is no lumberjack, but he’s still OK when it comes to woodchopping.
Cogar, 23, a graduate student at West Virginia, has won three straight world handicap woodchopping titles.
After he receives his master’s degree in business administration in August, he plans to devote a year to chopping before attending law school to study environmental law.
Cogar said his father, woodchopping legend Arden Cogar, 59, of Webster Springs, encouraged education.
″Dad only went to school through third grade and he wanted me to get a better education than he had,″ Cogar said. ″He was determined that I wasn’t going to go into the timber business.″
The younger Cogar competes for his first world title without a handicap this year. If he wins, he still has some distance to go to match his dad. Arden Cogar has won 46 world titles, the first in 1961.
″There are a handful of elite ax men in the United States,″ Cogar said.
He said he is determined to be one of them.